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Sept. 18, 2019

Thinking Through Gun Control (EP.166)

Thinking Through Gun Control (EP.166)

Hello again, this is your host Will Luden with Revolution 2.0™. Welcome. Learn more and subscribe at revolution2-0.org

Thinking Through Gun Control (EP. 166) 


As sane people, we all want to reduce gun violence. No sane individual or group wants to allow kids to die so they can have the right to own an AK-47. If you are one of those, stop reading, unsubscribe and turn yourself in. AK-47s are already illegal. 

The perfect solution, admittedly unattainable, would be to have perfect foreknowledge of who would and who would not use guns illegally. Those who would never do anything wrong with a firearm would be allowed to buy and possess them, and the known-to-be gun criminals would be barred. Perfect.  As with many issues, the perfect solution is unachievable, so let’s try to come as close as we can. 

That is the subject of today’s 10-minute episode.


Let’s think through gun control together, and as always at Revolutions 2-0™ with the overall goal of promoting thoughtful, productive discussions, completely replacing cliche-based so-discussions that rest on the three-legged stool of incomplete facts, preconceived notions and insults and accusations. 

Let’s use the search for a common goal here as a way of us all getting on the same page. And–and–as a way of flushing out disguised goals. Some proponents of additional gun control really want to ban all guns, but they are not ready to promote that as policy just yet. In the 3rd Democratic debate, Beto O’Rourke came out with a full-throated call for a mandatory buyback, confiscation, of “assault weapons” and “weapons of war”, specifically AR-15s and AK-47s; the audience responded enthusiastically. These two firearms should never be mentioned in the same breath. The AK is indeed a fully automatic weapon of war. The AR is a semi-automatic rifle using detachable magazines. Let’s listen to Wikipedia:

  • “The AK-47 was designed to be a simple, reliable, fully automatic rifle that could be manufactured quickly and cheaply, using mass production methods that were state of the art in the Soviet Union during the late 1940s. The AK-47 uses a long stroke gas system that is generally associated with great reliability in adverse conditions. The large gas piston, generous clearances between moving parts, and tapered cartridge case design allow the gun to endure large amounts of foreign matter and fouling without failing to cycle.” Wikipedia
  • “An AR-15 style rifle is a lightweight semi-automatic rifle based on the ArmaLite AR-15 design.” Wikipedia

Manufactured by Armalite Rifle, hence the designation AR. No military or self-respecting terrorist group uses semi-auto rifles. Including the US. It is not an assault rifle; it is certainly not a “weapon of war.”

I gave these clear and accurate definitions of the two firearms to make two points. 1. If we are going to talk about banning either the purchase or possession of currently legal products, we should at least know what we are talking about. 2. Let’s not dance around issues and prevaricate in order to get to where we want to go. For example, if we want to ban semi-automatic rifles, then stand up and say that. Don’t call an AR an assault weapon in order to get there. We can have an honest and open discussion about banning semi-automatic rifles. We do not need to mislead people in order for them to get to the correct solution. Trust people to make the right decisions when they have the correct information. In other words, think better of the people, the citizens, the voters who are ultimately responsible for the decisions. 

Here is an example of a potentially productive common goal related to reducing gun violence: Keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally unstable, while allowing law abiding citizens the right to keep and bear arms, including semi-automatic rifles.

Okay, Will, how do we do that? Good question. Here are some approaches:

  1. Universal background checks. Yes. With clear safeguards against having a national database of all gun owners and what they own that would be available for some, like Mr. O’Rourke, to use for confiscation.
  2. Red flag laws. They could be very useful, and we would need to be careful here. These laws must come with severe penalties for those using red flags against others for petty and personal reasons, e.g., personal revenge for a perceived slight.
  3. Gun crime sentencing: Anyone who uses a gun in the commission of a crime gets a minimum of 5 years. Period. This alone will have a dramatic and positive effect.
  4. Sheepdogs. In this world there are sheep, wolves and sheepdogs. Sheepdogs at schools could include teachers and staff, on a strictly volunteer basis, who would be allowed to carry concealed and would be prepared to meet intruders head-on. And they would need to be trained, re-trained and tested. And re-tested. And the schools and other locations must be posted–not as highly vulnerable gun free targets– but clearly posted as having multiple trained and ready staff with concealed firearms. In addition to the few and highly identifiable school resource officers.  For more on this topic, please go to Sheep, Wolves and Sheepdogs, (EP. 36).
  5. Bump stocks. This one is easy. These stocks are a quick and cheap way of taking a semi-auto rifle and allowing it to fire more like a full-auto. Ban them and anything like them.
  6. Copy-cat shootings. Overall gun violence has been declining for decades, and mass shootings have been on the rise. Why? Isn’t it likely that these scumbag–evil–shooters want their version of sicko notoriety–even in death? This issue seems like a logical part of any set of red flag laws.
  7. Magazine capacity. I am torn on this one. The 100-round drums should surely be outlawed. But what about the common 30-round magazine? The argument against them, the argument for limiting magazines to 10 rounds, is that a mass shooter could do less damage if he had to swap magazines more often. Even an unskilled shooter could quickly learn to swap magazines in 3 seconds or less, meaning that it would take 6 additional seconds to fire off 30 rounds with three 10-round magazines than with one 30-round magazine. I suppose that I could go along with it, but it seems like a small point that is being blown all out of proportion.

Beware of anyone making the “need” argument, i.e., “No one needs an AR!” Perhaps, but no one needs a vacation home. Or needs to take a cruise. No family of 4 needs a 3.5K sq. foot home. And why would anyone need a 300 hp car? And who needs animal protein for dinner every night? We must never, ever allow governments to either take away things they deem unnecessary, or allow them to give away with taxpayer money all the things they decide that we need and deserve. 

This issue, like all issues, must be discussed and decided rationally, with the applicable set of facts being applied to well-discussed common goals. And rational can mean passionate and dedicated; it cannot mean insulting and dismissive. We at Revolution 2.0™ are dedicated to the proposition of breaking the back of antagonistic, I win, you lose, cliche and accusation driven “discussions” that are currently the mainstay of our public dialog. 

Five star general and two-time President, Dwight Eisenhower, agreed with the notion that no plan survives first contact with the enemy. But–but–he correctly observed that the planning process was vital regardless. Even if everything immediately deviated from plan, the foundation of the planning process is critical. Where was I planning to go, what changed, and how do I get back on track? That’s the winning formula, and that formula is impossible without the initial planning process. 

In the same way, the Revolution 2.0 formula of seeking common goals, having rational, and perhaps passionate, conversations, focusing on the goals and not on either personal or political agendas, is the winning formula. This process will not always lead to the perfect solution, whatever that is, but it will always lead us away from the win-lose arguments of today to the win-win discussions of tomorrow. And there’s more on this subject at The Disloyal Opposition “Resist” (EP. 142).


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Will Luden, coming to you from 7,200’ in Colorado Springs.